Philadelphia Union striker Carlos Ruiz and the Guatemalan national team fought their way to a scoreless draw Monday night with Honduras in each team's opening game of the 2011 Gold Cup despite going down to nine men.
Ruiz, who went ninety minutes, did not enjoy many chances on goal himself but was able to create some chances for other players, such as the Chicago Fire's Marco Pappa. Ruiz then spent most of the second half defending, as his team suffered two expulsions and were unable to even think about going forward.
Despite both Gustavo Cabrera and Henry Medina being sent off, Guatemala valiantly held on for a scoreless draw that leaves them tied for second place in Group B behind Jamaica, who thrashed Grenada 4-0 in Monday's other game. Cabrera was shown a second yellow card for a nasty follow-through on the shin of Honduras's Emil Martinez. Medina was shown his own second yellow for a needless tackle on Walter Martinez. Medina was able to pick up two cards despite only coming into the game in the 72nd minute.
"El Pescadito" Ruiz and the Guatemalans return to the field this Friday as they take on group leaders Jamaica at FIU Stadium in Miami, FL. The miraculous result from Monday night means that a win in their final game against Grenada would probably ensure passage to the second round; any points earned Friday against Jamaica would improve their situation even more. Ruiz would miss the Union's trip to Vancouver on June 18 if Guatemala were to advance; he will already miss this Saturday's home game against Real Salt Lake.